5. Don't "Shotgun" Date
Ever handled a shotgun? If not, let me fill you in. The shells of a shotgun are stuffed with tiny round balls. When you pull the trigger, these balls spread over a large range, increasing the chance you hit the target. It's great for hunting ... it's terrible for dating.
"Let's see. I am going to ask 20 people on a date. Five of those should be keepers. Hopefully one will end up as my spouse."
Not a good idea. I fear this mentality in the dating culture is actually promoting divorce. Let me explain.
The culture says, "Date around. It's OK. Get to know yourself." And as soon as the person you are dating smacks his or her gum the wrong way, you are out. So the default for years is to leave as soon as a flaw arises. Suddenly, when marriage begins, you are asked to flip a switch.
You are asked to go from a mentality that says "End a relationship as soon as difficulty arises," to one that says, "Don't end the relationship regardless of the difficulty that arises."
That's a tough switch to flip. Date with a trajectory towards marriage. Date intentionally.
6. It's OK to Want to Get Married
You desire marriage. Praise God. He gives you the desire. Let me prove it.
The first instance in the Bible where God is not pleased comes when God sees Adam living in the Garden of Eden alone (Gen. 2:18). God knows it is not good for man to be by himself. Enter Eve, pro-creation and marriage (not necessarily in that order).
People are created to be in community. And the most intimate community on earth is the relationship you will have with your spouse. So pray for God to send you a spouse. But don't allow the desire to consume your life.
Be patient. Wait on the Lord. If you are confident God called you to marry, He will deliver.
7. It's OK NOT to Get Married
While marriage is a huge sanctifier, it is not something God says is mandatory. If you aren't ready for marriage, or if you do not want to get married, you are not sinning.
I am fearful the Christian community has irresponsibly coerced men and women into marriage through cultural pressure. There must be a secret bylaw passed down from the early church fathers, but once you reach the age of 25 you will be asked the question almost weekly ... "When are you getting married?"
Can you imagine how constantly hearing this question from friends, family and unsuspecting old ladies at church can make some people believe they have a problem?
If you aren't ready to date, don't allow the cultural pressure to override God's plan.
Disclaimer: If you are single, understand it is your responsibility to steward your time well. Singleness is a gift from God, but singleness is not an excuse to be lazy. It is an opportunity to serve the Lord.
8. Have a community of Christians Around You. And Listen to Them
Don't date alone. This sounds lame. But so is marrying a sleaze ball.
When you date, allow the community of people around to speak into your relationship. Your feelings can deceive you. Your friends are able to see inconsistencies and problems you can't because they are outside the storm.
I know too many men and women who refused to listen to people around them, and their prideful arrogance resulted in a failed marriage. Don't fall into this category. Find men and women you trust, and allow them to speak into your relationship.
9. Pursue a Pure Mind
"Sex before marriage is bad." This was the extent of my understanding of Christian dating as a teenager and young adult.
And to my church's credit, they drilled this one point home constantly. Like that annoying kid at church camp that wouldn't leave you alone.
I heard don't have sex before marriage so much I actually believed getting to marriage a virgin was the only important thing. The problem? In the process, I filled my heart and mind with lust, and I secretly struggled with pornography. Big uh-oh.
What the church needs to teach is the importance of a pure mind. This requires discipline, restraint and abstinence from activities that don't promote holiness. But the sacrifice is worth the prize.
A pure mind might be the greatest gift you can give your future spouse. It allows you to jump into marriage with a clear conscience. No baggage. No comparisons. No regret. Just you, your spouse and God.
A pure mind might be the greatest gift you can give your future spouse.
Don't ever date someone who won't honor purity with you. Ever.
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